Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Christmas Card "Kissing Ball"

Yes, I know a kissing ball usually incorporates mistletoe or greens of some sort. However, in our family we hang this colorful decoration made from old Christmas cards in a doorway and we call it a "kissing ball". One of the kids started calling it that, and the name stuck. My husband persists in treating it as if it were mistletoe.

This project is a tiny bit time-consuming in waiting for glue to dry, etc. but it is very easy and a lot of fun to do.

You will need: Old Christmas cards
A compass or a 3-inch jar lid (for tracing circles)
A pencil or pen
Mucilage-type glue (the kind with the spreader top)
Paper clips
Glue stick
Miniature glass Christmas ballsTacky glue
Heavy gold (or other) cord for hanging ball

To begin, draw a three-inch circle or two on the back of a Christmas card, and cut these out. These will be your templates. It's a good idea to have more than one, because they get a bit worn down and out of shape if you keep using the same template over and over.

You need to also draw an equilateral triangle that just fits inside a 3-inch circle, and cut that out. This triangle will be your template for folding the circles later.

Next, using your circle templates, draw 20 three-inch circles on Christmas card fronts. Try and center the card's picture (or the part of the picture you are using) in the circle. You may be able to get more than one circle per card, depending upon the design. Cut out the circles.

The next part sounds tricky, but it really isn't that difficult. Once you begin, you will understand how it works.
First, make the top of the ball. This takes 5 circles. Using your triangle template, trace a triangle on the back of each circle, with the point uppermost. You will want to make sure that your design is right side up, with the triangle's point at the top.

Now, fold along the lines you just made. Crease them well. What you will have is a triangular design framed by half-circle flaps on all three sides.

Now it's time to glue. Take the first two circles and place them side by side with the points of triangles next to each other at the top. Apply the mucilage-type glue to the back of two adjacent side flaps and glue them together. Secure with paper clips which will hold the flaps together until they dry. Continue until all 5 pieces are glued together. Then glue the two remaining side flaps together. You will see that this forms a cap-like piece, or maybe an upside down bowl. Paper-clip the last two glued flaps and set the piece aside to dry.

Next, make the bottom of the ball with 5 more circles. This time, trace your triangle so that the point is at the bottom of your design. Again, be sure the design is right side up, but with the triangle's point at the bottom. Fold and crease as before. Glue as for top, but this time you glue them side by side with the points of triangles next to each other at the bottom. Paper-clip the flaps together as you glue. Finished bottom piece will resemble a bowl. Set aside to dry.

Now make the middle section, using the remaining 10 circles. This time you will trace 5 triangles with the points up (design right side up) and 5 triangles with the points down (again, with the design right side up). Fold and crease as before. As you have probably guessed, the positioning and gluing of the middle section is different from the top and bottom. Place a point-up triangle next to a point-down one, and so on, alternating between the two. Glue and clip adjacent flaps as you go. At the end, glue and clip the remaining flap of the last piece to the unglued side flap of the first piece. Set aside to dry.

(Are you thinking this is a lot of work? It's simple work, though, and I promise the finished product will be very pretty.)

When all three pieces are dry, remove all of the paper clips. Don't put them away, though -- you'll need them again.
Now, glue the bottom flaps of your top piece to the top flaps of the middle section, paper-clipping as you go. And then glue the top flaps of the bottom piece to the bottom flaps of the middle section, again paper-clipping as you go along. Set the completed ball aside to dry.

When it's dry, now is the time to add glitter. You can use whatever color glitter you like. I usually use gold or silver, but one time, for an elderly aunt who collected Santas, I used all Santa cards for the ball and used red glitter. Anyway, to add glitter, hold the ball over a disposable pie pan or other throwaway container. Use the glue stick to add glue to each flap of the completed ball, and then sprinkle the gluey surface with glitter. Shake off excess.

Now, for the finishing touch. You've probably noticed that there are openings where the folded circles don't quite meet. You are about to fix that! For each of these openings, dip the hanger end of a miniature Christmas ball in tacky glue. Carefully insert these glued ends into each opening except for the opening at the top of the ball.
Make a loop of cord to use as a hanging loop. Tie the cord ends in a sturdy knot. Dip the knot in tacky glue and carefully insert the knot into the opening at the top of the ball. Set the ball aside until all the glue is dry.

Hang your new decoration in a hallway, window, or from a ceiling fixture -- and enjoy its festive sparkle!

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